Adulting is hard, especially in a non-stop, high-pressure capital city like London, so it’s no wonder that ‘kidult’ activities are on the rise.The Resident seeks out London’s best activities for those who have decided they don’t want to grow up…
‘Research shows that being playful makes us happier, more open-minded, gets the creative juices flowing, helps us bond together and can even help those suffering from depression. Humans are hardwired to play, and this doesn’t stop in childhood.’ Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire
Words: Andrew Zuccala & Victoria Purcell
Lead image: Ballie Ballerson
1 Flip Out London E6
The capital’s largest trampoline park launched in July at the Granada Theatre in East Ham. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Rod Stewart have all performed at the iconic art deco venue, which has been transformed into an adventure park following a £3 million renovation. As well as rows of inter-locked trampolines, the three storey arena also features a giant super-slide with an almost vertical 30ft drop, a network of indoor caves, a 100-metre indoor potholing zone, 12 themed climbing walls, plus a laser maze, cyber tower, ninja warrior course and dodgeball. For actual real kids (under 5s), there’s also an enchanted castle themed soft play zone with building blocks, play tunnels, balance beams, slides and a ball pool. There are also three themed cafes. Activities from £8. Soft play from £4.25. South of the river? There is also a Flip Out trampoline park in Wandsworth.
The old Gala Bingo Hall, 281 Barking Road E6 1LB; flipout.co.uk
2 Ballie Ballerson, Dalston
Split over two floors, this bar boasts an impressive ball pit with over 200,000 plastic balls as well as foam toys, rubber rings and a DJ booth set inside the pit itself. Play fighting is encouraged, hide and seek games are a plenty while drunken shenanigans cannot be missed at this cocktail club come adult play pen in East London. Rest upstairs in the graffiti clad bar and dining space with nostalgic cocktails, craft beers and punch before heading back down to the ball pit dance floor with funk, bass and techno tunes. Maybe even try out their bottomless brunch deal and even whackier bottomless spaghetti meatballs.
79 Stoke Newington Road N16 8AD; ballieballerson.com
3 Junkyard Golf Club, Brick Lane
Located on Brick Lane, Junkyard Golf Club is an underground crazy golf haven supplying caddies, private bars and DJs for all your late-night shenanigans. Boasting three golf courses – soon to be four – there is plenty of scope to hire out small sections or the entire venue while taking advantage of the package deals for those of you wanting an alternative Christmas party. Bart’s Dog Kart is on hand to provide The Original, The Brooklyn and The Chiuahua plus the Veggie Dog for vegetarians, 100% quality hot dogs laden with combinations of nacho cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeno, sour cream, guacamole, sriracha, crispy onions and coriander. Omnomnom.
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL; junkyardgolfclub.co.uk
4 Draughts Board Game Cafe, Haggerston
London’s first ever board game bar, having come into being thanks to the ever so popular crowdfunding trend, hosts a huge library of over 600 board games. For £5 each, you and your friends can spend night the playing your favourite board games be it the game that always ends in a fight – Monopoly – some more childish fun with Hungry, Hungry Hippos, or the drinkers’ game of choice, Cards Against Humanity. There are also tournaments, themed evenings and workshops led by professional board game designers.
337 Acton Mews, Haggerston E8 4EA; draughtslondon.com
5 Sleepover at the Natural History Museum, South Kensington
The Natural History Museum is a kidult wonderland. They host a number of adults-only events among the dinosaurs and other beastly animals, including their sleepovers and CSI events. Drink, dance and watch a number of spooky films around the relics before nestling up under a T-Rex at one of their DinoSnores overnight parties or take part in a forensic crime scene investigation throughout the halls of the Museum at night. The list of kidult activities is ever-growing due to high demand, so keep an eye on the events calendar.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 5BD; nhm.ac.uk
Up the fun factor of your workouts at Jumping Giants in Heathrow, a trampoline arena with over 100 interconnecting trampolines, including angled wall trampolines, launching decks, Foam Pits with launch pads, extreme Dodgeball Courts, Slam Dunk Basketball, Junior Jump Zones, Ninja Courts, Battle Beams and a Half Pipe. Go with friends or join a team. Just make sure to warm up and stretch – our bodies aren’t as young as they used to be!
Coln Industrial Estate, Old Bath Road, Slough SL3 0NJ ; jumpgiants.com
7 Biscuiteers, Notting Hill
This one is for the creative food-lovers out there. Head inside either the Notting Hill or Northcote Road Biscuiteers boutique for an evening lesson on how to decorate delicious desserts. Held on the first Tuesday of every month, guests will be invited to sip on some prosecco – to help get the creative juices flowing – while being instructed by one of their professional patisserie chefs. This is a relaxed and fun experience for adults wanting to recreate those rainy days when you’d spend all day baking delicious treats with mum or dad.
194 Kensington Park Road W11 2ES & 13 Northcote Road SW11 1NG; biscuiteers.com
8 Time Run Escape Room, Hackney
The Escape Room craze, where you and your friends are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles in order to get out, took London by storm when it first popped up, and there are countless versions across the city, but Time Run has to be the best yet. Take part in a set of immersive adventure games for teams of 3-6 players where you travel backwards and forwards in time throughout a series of hyper-real worlds, trying to save mankind. Sadly no alcohol is permitted for this one, but that never stopped us when we were kids!
9-15 Helmsley Place, Hackney E8 3SB; time-run.com
Set inside an old porn shop, behind a vintage sweet shop within an old Victorian Turkish Bath lies a world of drunken childish fun. It boasts an impressive calendar of events designed for adults to relive past glory days with the opportunity to take part in events like Play With Clay 80s Style, Lego Robots and Papier Mache Monster Mash, or why not join their weekly Beyoncé dance classes? There’s also dancing and DJs until 2am across both floors come Friday and Saturday. You clearly won’t struggle to find some superb kidult activities all year round at DSD.
9 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross N1 9DX; drinkshopdo.co
10 Kidzania’s adult evenings, White City
Traditionally, this kids indoor playground host children’s parties and school trips, but every month or so they exclusively open their doors to adults. For £30 each, grab a complimentary glass of mulled wine before trying out some of 60 different role play activities. Forget about being a banker or lawyer for a night by dressing up as a fire-fighter, pit-lane engineer or fashion stylist in this child-sized city.
Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, White City W12 7GA; london.kidzania.com
11 Swingers crazy golf
Swingers, the crazy golf club, is a venue that combines the holy trinity of fun: street food, amazing drinks and competitive socialising, combining them all into one incredible social experience. Swingers is based on a 1920’s golf club set in the bucolic English countryside. The 16,000 sq ft venue, just a stone’s throw from the Gherkin in the City, has two bespoke nine-hole crazy golf courses, five cocktail bars, three of London’s best street-food vendors, a two-storey clubhouse with gin terrace and nightly DJs. Open seven days a week from 12noon till late.
8 Brown’s Buildings (between Bury Street & St Mary Axe) EC3A 8AL; 020 3846 3222; swingersldn.com
12 The Crystal Maze, Angel
Relive the fun and excitement of The Crystal Maze, the 90s cult television show led by Richard O’Brien, by taking part in a recreation of the fully interactive team-building game. Follow the Maze Master through the Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and futuristic zones, solving puzzles and testing your physical endurance while having a laugh with fellow Crystal Maze lovers. And no such experience would be complete without the iconic Crystal Dome.
10-14 White Lion Street, Angel N1 9PD; the-crystal-maze.com
13 Go Ape, Battersea Park
Swing through the trees and experience new heights at Go Ape, London’s very own urban jungle in leafy Battersea Park. As the weather starts to warm up, what better way to experience the great outdoors than by climbing ropes and whizzing past the tall trees on zip lines? Suitable for both adults and children, the obstacles and crossings get more challenging as you ascend up through the levels into the very tree tops. The zip lines at the end are great fun!
Battersea Park SW11 4NJ; 0333 331 4987; goape.co.uk
14 Zip World London, South Bank
Zip World London, the fastest urban zip wire in any major city in the world, opened at Archbishop’s Park on Lambeth Palace Road on 18 July 2017, just cross the river from the Houses of Parliament. The 225-metre descent from a 35-metre tower will see riders reach speeds of up to 50mph, providing you with great views of the Thames, Big Ben and the London Eye. The ride was inspired by Britain’s longest zip wire, Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry in Wales. Adults £22.50, students £18.50, kids over eight £16.50 (family ticket £58.95). Open for 12 weeks.
Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth Palace Road SE1 7JY; zipworld.co.uk
15 Ice Karting at QUEENS: Skate, Dine, Bowl
Ice Karting returns to QUEENS: Skate Dine Bowl in August. After an extensive two-month refurbishment of their famous 12,000 ft sq ice rink – originally built in October 1930 – QUEENS: Skate Dine Bowl has relaunched its infamous Ice Karting. Racing at up to 35kph on specially modified go karts, the ice presents new challenges for the most seasoned racing expert. Up to eight drivers at one time will put their drifting skills to the test while racing laps around the ice, battling their way onto the leader board. Running every Tuesday and Sunday evenings 6.30-10pm. Afterwards, why not celebrate or commiserate at the brand new MEATliquor Queensway right inside QUEENS? Ice Karting is £44pp per 40-minute session.
17 Queensway W2 4PQ; queens.london